Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer
Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.
I was born in London, and lived in Israel, North Carolina, and New York before finally settling in St. Louis, Missouri about 16 years ago. I’ve got a husband, two kids, and a very opinionated kitty, Miri Billie Joe, who is the true ruler of our household. I get through about a gallon of strong hot tea with milk each day and like to reward myself with squares of dark, dark chocolate.
You’re the author of P.A.W.S., a YA fantasy series. Can you tell us a bit about this series?
Certainly! P.A.W.S. is the story of Miri, a young Jewish girl who receives a silver cat charm from her grandmother, Celia, the night before Celia dies. Little does Miri know, but the charm holds the family secret, a secret that saved her grandmother from the Nazis and is about to change Miri’s life in ways she never thought possible.
Miri’s story continues in the second book of the series, Argentum, which recently came out and I’m currently working on the third book. I have a whole world inside my head that’s waiting to come out!
What attracted you to write in both the fantasy genre and the young adult genre?
They are the genres I most enjoy reading. My favorite authors include J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Cornelia Funke, Cassandra Clare, and Neil Gaiman. I love immersing myself in a story and I love magic – in fantasy anything is possible.
Another project which you’re involved in (as a writer and an editor) is the historic horror anthology, Sins of the Past. Can you tell us about that book?
Sins of the Past was the brainchild of British horror writer, Kelvin Allison. The idea was to take a true event in history and set a tale of the macabre within that timeframe. Sadly Kelvin backed out of the project, but we had too many good stories to let it go, so Chasity Nicole and I took it over.
There are 17 stories which span history from a poison maiden in ancient India to a haunted Vietnam veteran in LA. My story in the collection is Griddlebone, a tale of genetically mutated werecats in Nazi-controlled Europe.
You’re also a puzzle writer. What exactly does that involve, and how different is it from writing novels and stories? Are there any similarities?
I write all kinds of word and logic puzzles mostly for Penny Press and Dell Magazines and for my website Paws4Puzzles. These include crosswords, word seeks, anagram puzzles, and quotation puzzles among others. I’m also currently putting together my own book of logic problems, Paws4Logic, which hopefully will be released early in 2015.
With the logic problems there is definitely a crossover between writing puzzles and writing fiction. Each puzzle is a story, albeit a short one, and I have a lot of fun coming up with creative scenarios, names, and settings. This is something I enjoy a lot when I write fiction too.
Do you find it challenging to switch between these different projects and genres?
Sometimes yes, but I try to balance it out, doing a little writing and a little puzzle work each day.
Do you have any tidbits or anecdotes you’d like to share about your books, or your writing life?
I love the weird and wonderful characters that sometimes pop, seemingly out of nowhere, onto my page. Sometimes I’ll mention someone in passing, like the clown, The Great Bobbert, who Joey (the animagus kangaroo) follows around in the first book of P.A.W.S. Low and behold that clown comes back in Argentum, and wait a second, he has a pet weasel called Popgoes – where did that come from?
Who has inspired you as an author?
My greatest inspiration is probably JK Rowling. My favorite Harry Potter is book 3, The Prisoner of Azkaban. It is in this book that we are introduced to the idea of animagi. I was fascinated by this idea, but wanted to delve deeper. How does it feel to turn into an animal? What was the process like learning to be an animagus? How would a magician choose which animal they were, or was that animal always part of them? All these questions inspired me to create P.A.W.S.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing book 3 in the P.A.W.S. series, which hopefully will be released sometime in 2015. I also have my logic project, Paws4Logic, which I’m working on together with my son, Joey. Plus I have stories coming out in several more anthologies in the next few months and will be working on part 2 of our horror anthology, Sins of the Future, to be released in October 2015.
You can find out more about the author and her books at these sites: